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Page 13 text:
Early History of Perry Township W
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Oliver Hazard tvrrry a ly Ygigxj
.75 Lara! Naazesakc .sy t W
On several occasions, members of this yearis
Clock asked individuals in the township, ':How
did Perry Township get its name. Shocked by
the inability of people to answer this question,
the staffers felt it was their duty to include in
this history of Perry Township a brief bio-
graphy of the man for whom it is named-
Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of an Ameri-
can vessel during the victorious Battle of Lake
Erie in the War of 1812.
Oliver Hazard Perry was born at South
Kingston, Rhode Island, August 23, 1785.
He studied in private schools and in 1799
became a midshipman in the U. S. Navy. He
first served under his father in the West Indies
during the naval war with France. He also
served bravely on the Nautilus in the Tripoli-
tan Wars in the Mediterranean.
In 1807, he was appointed a lieutenant and
was in charge of the construction of gunboats
at Newport for two years. He was next given
command of the '4Revenge," but in 1811 the
boat ran aground and was lost.
During the war of 1812, Perry was sent to
join Commander Isaac Chauncey at Sackett's
Harbor on Lake Erie. The British were in domi-
nant force here. When he was attacked by the
British, his flagship, the f'Lawrence,'7 was al-
most completely destroyedg so he transferred
to the 4'Niagra.7' In a little more than fifteen
minutes, Perry had defeated the British fleet
and had won control of Lake Erie. It was dur-
ing this battle that Perry sent his now-famous
message, '4We have met the enemy and they
are oursf, Soon after this victory, he was pro-
moted to captain.
Perry's Lake Erie victory was one of the
most brilliant victories in United States Naval
Histo1'y. It raised Perry to hero status, and
towns, cities, counties and townships were
named after him . . .
Perryis naval career ran into hardship dur-
ing a cruise on the lVlediterranean Q1816-18175 .
He ran into trouble with a marine officer, Cap-
tain John Heath. Both were court-martialed and
received private reprimands by the commodore
of the squadron. Later the two fought a duel
in which neither was injured, Perry declined
In lVIay 1819, Perry was given command of
a small fleet going to South America. While
on the Orinoca River in Venezuela, he fell ill
with yellow fever and died a few days later.
He was buried at Port of Spain in Trinidad on
August 23, 1819. Later his body was returned
to Newport, Rhode Island where it is today.
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